One-hundred and fifty years ago this month, the Red River Campaign started. The available literature on the campaign is surprisingly large, but there are three books that are particularly important in my opinion.
The granddaddy of the group is Ludwell H. Johnson’s Red River Campaign: Politics & Cotton in the Civil War. This was Dr. Johnson’s doctoral dissertation, and it was published in 1958. The book has stood the test of time because of the author’s research and his emphasis on military events as well as the political backdrop of the campaign. Another positive feature of the book is the author’s helpful annotated bibliography.
Dr. Gary Dillard Joiner’s One Damn Blunder From Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864 was published in 2003. Dr. Joiner incorporated traditional and more recent resources in his study, and there is a welcome emphasis on naval aspects of the campaign.
Dr. Joiner also was the general editor of Little to Eat And Thin Mud To Drink: Letters, Diaries, and Memoirs from the Red River Campaigns, 1863-1864 (2007). This is an interesting collection of civilian and soldier accounts of the campaign. Helpful appendices include a listing of naval vessels deployed during the campaign and a time line of the campaign.